Stemilt’s Brianna Shales Discusses Rave® Apple’s Impact on Fast Facts: The Cast
WENATCHEE, WA - Growing up in a sports family, it has been said to me many times, “stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready,” which is exactly what Stemilt is doing as it looks ahead to the start of its Rave® brand MN55 cultivar apple season. Starting in early August, the Rave season has a unique early harvest time, giving retailers the chance to get a jumpstart on their apple categories with ads starting in Mid-August.
Stemilt Marketing Director Brianna Shales and Communications Manager Katie Harmon discussed the variety in its recent special edition of Fast Facts: The Cast.
“Without significant volumes, it can be hard for a new apple to make a category impact,” shared Shales. “That’s where Rave apples really stand out. They rise in the data because the unique, early season timing that allows retailers to jump on a new mid-August promotion opportunity for apples. Plus, retailers can promote a fantastic apple that sells above average apple prices, making it a category starter for both dollars and volume.”
Recent Nielsen scan data shows that Rave was the #4 club apple nationally during the first six weeks of apple season from early August to mid-September in 2019, according to a press release. During 2019 was when the largest volume crop of Rave apples was produced since its introduction in 2018, and this season will build off of the success of the 2019 crop.
This season, Stemilt is anticipating increased volumes from Washington State due to more trees coming into production compared to the smaller 2020 crop. Retailers will also have access to Rave apple supplies from Applewood Fresh™ in Michigan and Yes! Apples® in New York.
“Retailers sold a case of Rave apples per store, per week on average during the first six weeks of the apple season,” said Shales. “Velocity is important at the start of any season in produce, and Rave comes on during that transition time from summer to fall, but with outrageously juicy flavors to entice consumers to try something new.”
To increase consumer awareness surrounding Rave apples, Stemilt utilized digital demos to introduce the variety to 500 consumers in August 2020, because in-store trials we effected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After sampling the apple, 89 percent of participants said they intended to repurchase Rave apples.
“The digital demos proved that shoppers consistently have positive experiences with Rave and that once they try it, they’ll Rave about it,” commented Shales. “That’s exactly the excitement we’ll be looking to restart come August with retail promotions.”
As the season approaches, Shales encourages retailers to tap into the 4P’s of marketing—product, placement, price, and promotion—when planning out their programs. Through the variety’s bold, magenta branded carton and key placement, retailers can create eye-catching displays to attract consumer traffic. She also encourages the use of in-store signage and digital marketing to boost sales.
“We’re anticipating a great crop of Rave apples with a range of sizing and opportunities for a first promotion in mid-August,” said Shales. “The brand will also be supported by a fun, nationwide consumer marketing campaign during its season to drive awareness and trial.”
To get a leg up on your apple program, consider adding Rave apples to your aisles for a great start to the season.